Microbreweries produce on a smaller level than mass marketed national, or international beers. Buying local is a great way to support local; businesses and to be sure you are drinking fresh, great tasting beer. There is a wide variety of brews out there, something for everyone’s particular tastes. Here are my picks.
My absolute favorite Connecticut based microbrew is the Thomas Hooker Brewer Company‘s seasonal Oktoberfest which Is available from Labor Day throughout October. It is a dark amber beer with a fairly small head that falls quickly. There are strong hints of toffee with caramel and apple flavors as well. It holds true to the Oktoberfest style of beer, though slightly darker than other breweries attempts. It tastes very much like something fresh out of Munich. The brewery is located in Bloomfield Connecticut and their beers are widely available in liquor stores and bars throughout the state., however since this is a seasonal offering I suggest staking out your local liquor store as soon after Labor Day as you can to be sure you get to give this a try. The brewery offers private tours, public beer tastings and open house events at their brewery, so timing a visit during this beers season is highly recommended.
My second pick for a microbrew favorite is the Imperial Stout Trooper from the New England Brewing Company in Woodbridge Connecticut. This stout is almost black in color with minimal head. The stout tastes of chocolate, vanilla and coffee with some caramel flavor as well. It is full bodied and well balanced with no bitter aftertaste. The brew is fairly easy to find in liquor stores throughout Connecticut., but for the bar experience suggest Prime 16 in New Haven. They occasionally get casks of single run brews for the New England Brewing Company that are well worth the trip. Eli Cannon’s Tap Room in Middletown and Delaney’s Tap Room in New Haven also carry this brew.
My final pick is from the Contrell Brewing Company in Pawcatuck Connecticut.. Old Yankee Ale is a tasty, high quality ale that is a quick favorite for those that try it. It is a golden hued ale with a malty flavor and a nice frothy head. There is a hint of caramel, a kick of citrus that I best classify as grapefruit, and a hoppy aftertaste. The Old Yankee Ale is a very popular choice for people in Connecticut, over the nearby Rhode Island border and for some in Massachusetts. It can be found in some bars and liquor stores in all three states, but most prevalently in Connecticut. I most often purchase at Wallingford Wine and Spirits because it is so close to me, but for a bar experience I again suggest going to Prime 16 in New Haven. The brewery does offer tours by appointment.